George Rosendale was a Yalanji, Nyungkul & Guguu Yimithirr bama (Bama means aboriginal person). His family wanted to claim him as their own but at the same time they knew he was one chosen by God for all Australians. Remembering his family of origin, George was gifted in being able to observe, maintain and respect his cultural heritage and practices.
Amongst his most lasting contributions was his relentless search for a way to share the true Gospel with his people through a cultural perspective. This culminated in the publication of Rainbow Spirit Theology. Not only was this helpful for non-Indigenous Australians but it helped Aboriginal people to see their salvation through new eyes. His passion to reach the heart with the Gospel was paramount.
A childhood recollection by one of his nieces went like this. “I used to visit the down and outs with him as part of his Cooktown ministry. They were always seen as a hopeless group of people, but not in the eyes of George Rosendale, he treated them as people, as equal”. This quality endeared him to everyone. Just as God doesn’t place us into categories. God’s love is for everyone, his acceptance of all people regardless of their circumstances has been a valuable lesson for the rest of my life. He regarded the Holy Spirit as all powerful, often saying ‘our responsibility is to preach the Gospel and then let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Essentially, like George’s love, God’s love is ‘colour-blind’. Well done good and faithful servant.
The funeral that was held on the 4th of October was a beautiful commemoration to his life. Over 650 people attended from as far away as Brisbane and many towns along the way to Hope Vale.
Below as some comments made by those who knew George.
“Highly respected, compassionate, awesome.” – Elaine, Tisha, Anastasia & Carmelita
“Great man and very hard worker.” – Ken
“While he was waiting for his time to go he would quip ‘I’m waiting for the ‘phone call from Maud’ (his wife).” –Tania
“He was a friend to everyone.” – Elaine
“He sits amongst the prophets in the Old Testament with his ability to bring meaning to the Gospel in the context of Aboriginal culture.” – June
“I didn’t feel sad when I heard he had died because I knew he was looking forward to heaven.” – Iris
“A man of God.” – Iris
“Chosen one.” – Francis
“God chose him, he was a special friend and brother.” – Lily
“He was part of our Yalanji family who represented all Bama (people) everywhere.” – Kathleen
“When he sang he lifted the roof.” – Lily & Kathleen
“He was a Nyungkul leader.”
“He could relate to people from every walk of life.” – Pearl
“No ordinary man, a Christian Legend.” – Pearl